Q622: What steps do the police have to take with regard to victims of crime?
The Code of Practice for Victims provides that all criminal justice agencies have responsibilities towards victims of crime. This answer only deals with the police responsibilities. For further information and responsibilities of other agencies, please see the websites in related sections. There are links to the 'Help for Victims' website and a Youtube video guide to the website.
A victim is classed as a person who is,
- the direct victim of a crime,
- the relatives of deceased victims,
- parents/guardians of juvenile victims and
- a named person within businesses.
- if the crime is finalised at source (not investigated) then the victim must be notified of this within 5 working days.
- must supply the victim with a victim of crime leaflet within 5 working days
- must inform Victim Support of the victims details within 2 days of the crime report (unless the victim asks them not to do so), except for the following crimes theft of/from motor vehicle, tampering with motor vehicle or minor criminal damage (unless vulnerable, repeat victim, victim of a hate crime or request from victim),
- where no suspect is arrested the victim must be kept up to date on at least a monthly basis of the investigation up until the end of the enquiries.
- if a suspect is arrested and dealt with by,
- no further action
- bail before charge, 47/3 bail, part 4 bail
- youth caution/caution
- penalty notice for disorder
- any other non-court disposal
When the suspect has been charged and will appear at court the police must,
- carry out a full needs assessments on all victims who may have to give evidence
- inform the victim within 1 day of receiving the information when the court date
- answer any queries the victim may have and explain any sentence handed down
- notify the victim within 4 days if the suspect failed to appear at court and a warrant was issued and also when the suspect is arrested on the warrant.
Informing the victim can include by letter, telephone, personal visit, fax, text message or email.
Vulnerable victims are provided with an enhanced service. People classed as vulnerable are,
- Children under the age of 17 at time of giving evidence
- Any person suffering from a mental disorder
- Any person suffering from a learning disability
- Any person who is physically disabled
- Any witness whose evidence is likely to be diminished through fear or distress
- Any victim of domestic or sexual abuse
Vulnerable victims must be informed within 1 working day if a suspect has been arrested or a warrant has been issued due to the suspects failure to attend at court.